In this day and age of the music industry when one song can catapult an artist to superstardom, the hype surrounding the Next Big Thing is as intense as it's ever been. But when thinking back over the last few decades, there have been plenty of examples of artists that popped up, caught the attention of the mainstream and disappeared just as quickly. While XXL spent the past week in the office bumping jams from D4L, Cali Swag District and the Shop Boyz, we decided to put together a list of 11 hip-hop gems made by groups who have faded into the pages of hip-hop history. Click through to check them out, and try not to party too much like a rock star. —Dionne Fowler

d4l cali swag district

B-Rock & The Bizz

Hometown: New York City/Mobile, Ala.
Members: B-Rock, T-Bird and Leevirt Agee
Song: “My Baby Daddy”
Year: 1997
Album: Porkin' Beans & Wienes
Chart Position: No. 10 (Billboard Hot 100)
Why It Was Hot: B-Rock & The Bizz is, by far, the epitome of a one-hit wonder. But we loved the humorous take on the "Baby-Momma-Daddy" drama that is, still, very much alive today. Besides, we dig the sampling of Motown group The Emotions' "Best of My Love."
Where The Group Went: Despite the song being one of the year's biggest hits, the group left LaFace Records amidst a label feud. Since then, the group hasn't released another single or album.
Current Status: Problems with LaFace Records has halted the group's success.

B Rock And The Bizz Video Screenshot

Sporty Thievz

Hometown: Yonkers, N.Y.
Members: King Kirk, Big Dubez and Marlon Brando
Song: “No Pigeons”
Year: 1999
Album: Street Cinema
Chart Position: No. 12 (Billboard Hot 100)
Why It Was Hot: It's no-holds-barred when it comes to this Yonkers trio and their response to the females with traditional values—especially when Atlanta's own TLC dropped the hit "No Scrubs." The group didn't grab much traction until dissing women with high standards came into play, and this track over the "No Scrubs" beat was a direct shot at their counterparts.
Where The Group Went: In 2000, Sporty Thievz joined Brooklyn-bred rappers Mos Def and Talib Kweli on a project in honor of Amadou Diallo—an innocent African immigrant who was slain by the NYPD. The special EP, Hip Hop For Respect, featured 41 MCs for the 41 shots fired at Diallo by four plainclothes policemen. The following year, the trio lost one member, Marlon Brando, who was killed when a car reportedly swerved onto a sidewalk and hit him. They released a mixtape last year, and Kirk also released a solo project.
Current Status: The remaining two are apparently working on a follow-up to their Street Cinema debut, dubbed Street Cinema Part 2, while King Kirk is a visual artist as well.
You Can Find Them Here:

Sporty Thievz Album Cover


Hometown: Opa-Locka, Fla.
Members: Luc Duc, Stage McCloud, Bull Dog, Chapter, Tony Manshino, Screwface and SupaStarr
Song: “Get Fucked Up”
Year: 2000
Album: Street Money Vol. 1
Chart Position: No. 93 (Billboard Hot 100)
Why It Was Hot: Simply put, it's just one of those songs you have to get crunked to. That three-note beat was infectious, and the song was an instant party banger with all the swagger that club jams at the turn of the century could muster. The remix with Lil Kim only added fuel to something that was already fire.
Where The Group Went: The group wasn't actually that much of a group; instead, they were a collection of seven MCs tossed together for their Slip N Slide debut. They would later release another album on Koch Records
Current Status: Everyone has since gone their separate ways, with Luc Duc putting out several solo albums, Screwface landing a few songs on compilations and producing as well, and Manshino steadily releasing music both in the States and his native Haiti. The rest are incredibly difficult to find.
You Can Find Them Here: @TonyManshino

Iconz Street Money Album Cover


Hometown: Queens, N.Y.
Members: Jungle, Wiz and Horse; later Nashawn
Song: “Oochie Wally”
Year: 2000
Album: Nas & Ill Will Records Presents QB's Finest
Chart Position: No. 26 (Billboard Hot 100)
Why It Was Hot: It got a little X-rated with Nasty Nas and his QB crew but nothing short of what the world was ready for. The men dominated the hip-hop scene at this time, so we're sure the fellas appreciated this hit. Nas hopped onto the remix and it became a club staple for a little while; Jay Z used the title as another way to diss Nas on "The Takeover."
Where The Group Went: Originally made up of Nas' brother Jungle and his two homies Wiz and Horse from Queensbridge, Horse would leave in 2002 and the group would make two official albums, Bravehearted and Bravehearted 2.
Current Status: Inactive outside of their relationships with Nas since their last album in 2008

Bravehearts Bravehearted Album

Da Band

Hometown: New York City
Members: Chopper (Young City), Babs, E. Ness, Freddy P, Dylan Dilinjah and Sara Stokes
Song: “Bad Boy This Bad Boy That”
Year: 2003
Album: Too Hot For TV
Chart Position: No. 50 (Billboard Hot 100)
Why It Was Hot: Let's admit it, Diddy knows how to put together a group, be the driving force behind a hot beat and has an eye for talent. Keeping it together, not so much, but this song from the crew the Bad Boy chief put together for Making The Band 2 was an undeniable hit.
Where The Group Went: At the closing of the show's third season, Diddy decided to drop all but Ness, Babs and Chopper from the group, then sent Chopper on to a solo career on Bad Boy South and packaged Ness and Babs as a duo. Eventually Chopper and Babs would leave the label, and the whole crew would be remembered mostly for the Chapelle's Show skit that parodied Diddy's show.
Current Status: Da Band has been no more for some time now. Chopper has had an up-and-down career; he continued releasing singles after leaving Bad Boy South in 2005, dropped a series of mixtapes and started his own label, but was arrested multiple times and shot in Michigan in January 2012. The rest have gone on to solo careers with varying degrees of success: Sara Stokes wound up being arrested for stabbing her husband in 2009, then her husband was arrested two years later for allegedly beating her up during an argument; Babs runs a battle rap organization; Dylan, Freddy and Ness are still making music and touring as solo artists.
You Can Find Them Here: Chopper | Babs | E. Ness | Freddy P | Dylan Dilinjah | Sara Stokes

Da Band Too Hot For TV


Hometown: Atlanta
Members: Don P, Lil LA and Dirty Mouth
Song: “Some Cut”
Year: 2005
Album: The King Of Crunk & BME Recordings Present: Trillville & Lil Scrappy
Chart Position: No. 14 (Billboard Hot 100)
Why It Was Hot: Who could forget that iconic bed squeak that kicked off the beat? Another classic track out of Lil Jon's crunk factory, this track put the ATL trio on the map in the era when crunk and its iteration club music were at their apex.
Where The Group Went: After "Some Cut," the crew began work on their official debut, Trillville Reloaded, only to see it shelved indefinitely (finally coming out in 2011). By the time their second album came out in 2008, they had lost much of the momentum that had originally attracted fans to them.
Current Status: According to the group's Twitter account, they had been touring together as recently as November 2013, but nothing has been updated since.
You Can Find Them Here: @_RealTrillville



Hometown: Atlanta
Members: Fabo, Shawty Lo, Mook-B and Stuntman
Song: “Laffy Taffy”
Year: 2005
Album: Down For Life
Chart Position: No. 1 (Billboard Hot 100)
Why It Was Hot: D4L brought a brand new sound to the city of Atlanta when they helped kick off the snap music craze in the mid-2000s. The song's ubiquitous hook was hard to ignore and had girls across the country shaking that laffy taffy.
Where The Group Went: Shawty Lo left the group after their first album, eventually signing to G-Unit in 2011 and having his own reality show, All My Babies' Mamas, which was cancelled almost immediately. Fabo apparently went back to school in 2009 and has experienced a bit of a cultural resurgence of late due to the popularity of Young Thug's "Stoner," during which he repeats the phrase "I feel like Fabo" over and over.
Current Status: Shawty Lo apparently has his G-Unit album in the works, while Fabo has hinted at a mixtape out in the fall. Mook-B, meanwhile, founded an online radio station and appears to have left hip-hop forever. D4L turned out to not necessarily mean Down For Life after all.
You Can Find Them Here: @FaboGeek | @THATSSHAWTYLO


The Pack

Hometown: Berkeley, Calif.
Members: Lil B, Young L, Stunnaman, Lil Uno
Song: “Vans”
Year: 2006
EP: Skateboards 2 Scrapers
Chart Position: No. 58 (Billboard Hot 100)
Why It Was Hot: The Pack, led by a young goofball named Lil B, penned this ode to their favorite shoe brand, Vans, much like the St. Lunatics' admiration for a pair of "fresh" white Nikes. In 2006 it became the unofficial anthem for the slip-on shoes, which were becoming more and more popular across the country. Slip on a pair of "checkered Vans the same color as snow" and you can't help but bop your head and "get your boogie on."
Where The Group Went: In 2009, the skateboard clique found competition just around the bend when Cali natives Legacy and Ben J formed the New Boyz. The "jerkin'" duo had a style that mirrored The Pack. But the group kept pushing and put out a second studio album, Wolfpack Party, in 2010. Lil B embarked on a solo career around the same time, and he hasn't looked back since.
Current Status: The Pack may not be in the studio right now, but Lil B has been making a name for himself through his relentless positivity, his Based lifestyle and his prolific solo output, with over 50 mixtapes in the past five years.
You Can Find Them Here: @realwolfpack

The Pack

Shop Boyz

Hometown: Atlanta
Members: Lil Meany, F.A.T and Sheed
Song: “Party Like A Rockstar”
Year: 2007
Album: Rockstar Mentality
Chart Position: No. 2 (Billboard Hot 100)
Why It Was Hot: In 2007 you didn't have to be a rock star to party like one, according to the Shop Boyz, and they had a whole lot of people partying like they were. The Atlanta group provided a rock-influenced track that clubs everywhere would bump, and they rode it all the way to a Platinum plaque and a Grammy nomination. Seven years later, "Party Like A Rockstar" is still as catchy as the day it came out.
Where The Group Went: The group went on to release a second single, "They Like Me," which charted but not very high. Since then, the Shop Boyz teamed up with C-Murder for a collaborative album and released an EP titled Back 2 Finish What We Started in 2011.
Current Status: Hard to tell
You Can Find Them Here: @theshopboyz

shop boyz

GS Boyz

Hometown: Arlington, Texas
Members: Soufside, Prince, Marc D, Slizz and DK
Song: “Stanky Legg”
Year: 2008
Album: N/A
Chart Position: No. 49 (Billboard Hot 100)
Why It Was Hot: "Stanky Legg" is the ultimate dance song. Simple yet catchy, it helped define the dance wave that was coming out of Texas and Atlanta in that era; and Down South crunk music always gets us. Don't tell us you didn't learn the dance just to bust it out with your homies in the club.
Where The Group Went: Since the 2008 dance hit, the group has lost three of its members and have gone their separate ways. In 2010, the remaining pair, Prince and Soufside, were said to be working on new projects.
Current Status: Last year they dropped the song "Make It Bounce," which you can check out here. They also are preparing to drop a new mixtape and a few videos, according to their Facebook.
You Can Find Them Here: @OfficialGsBoyz| Facebook

gs boyz

Cali Swag District

Hometown: Inglewood, Calif.
Members: Smoove Da General, Yung, JayAre and M-Bone
Song: “Teach Me How To Dougie”
Year: 2010
Album: The Kickback
Chart Position: No. 28 (Billboard Hot 100)
Why It Was Hot: Another track that sparked an undeniable dance craze, when "Teach Me How To Dougie" came out it seemed like you couldn't get away from it. "The Dougie" originated in Dallas, and the track sparked countless YouTube videos, parodies and imitations of the video, becoming a popular track just about everywhere. Even President Obama and Michelle Obama got in on the action, doing the dance on Ellen and Dr. Oz, respectively.
Where The Group Went: The group is currently working on projects and recently released a new video, "Pillhead," which features Cali rapper Nipsey Hu$$le. Tragically, just over a year after the song came out, the quartet was cut down to three after M-Bone was shot in a drive-by in his hometown of Inglewood.
Current Status: Together and plotting more music, including a new track with Waka Flocka Flame that's due out soon.
You Can Find Them Here: | @CaliSwagDstrct

cali swag district